MERLIN, Ore. — Seasonal businesses say they cannot make up the profit lost this summer from the wildfires.
Anyone driving in Merlin toward rafting companies will see a sign saying Bear Camp Road is closed. Forest officials tell the public to expect that road to be closed for another month.
For Rogue Wilderness Adventures, Bear Camp Road is the main road the company uses to shuttle rafters to and from the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. The company says the wildfires and the smoke that came with it already impacted them.
Now, the extended road closure is adding to it. Since the road is closed the company is having to pay for more gas and for employee’s who clock in more hours. For rafters, it means a longer ride, but Rogue Wilderness Adventures is highlighting the positives.
“We’ve been telling our customer that they get to go down the Oregon coast, they see the mouth of the Rogue River, Gold Beach, they come through the Redwood Forest, they come up the Smith River, up into Cave Junction, it’s a spectacular drive, and it’s just a four hour drive,” said Brad Niva, the owner of Rogue Wilderness Adventures.
It’s not just rafting companies, but restaurants that are being impacted. River Grill across the street says rafters usually stop by to eat, but now, besides a few locals, business is slow. With the Labor Day Weekend coming up, rafting companies and restaurants hope business will pick up.